Poems That Every Child Should Know/The Ivy Green

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The Ivy Green.

"The Ivy Green," by Charles Dickens (1812-70), is a hardy poem in honour of a hardy plant. There is a wonderful ivy growing at Rhudlan, in northern Wales. Its roots are so large and strong that they form a comfortable seat for many persons, and no one can remember when they were smaller. This ivy envelops a great castle in ruins. Every child in that locality loves the old ivy. It is typical of the ivy as seen all through Wales and England.

O, a dainty plant is the ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old!
Of right choice food are his meals, I ween,
In his cell so lone and cold.
The walls must be crumbled, the stones decayed,
To pleasure his dainty whim;
And the mouldering dust that years have made
Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.


Fast he stealeth on, though he wears no wings,
And a staunch old heart has he!
How closely he twineth, how tight he clings
To his friend, the huge oak tree!
And slyly he traileth along the ground,
And his leaves he gently waves,
And he joyously twines and hugs around
The rich mould of dead men's graves.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.


Whole ages have fled, and their works decayed,
And nations have scattered been;
But the stout old ivy shall never fade
From its hale and hearty green.
The brave old plant in its lonely days
Shall fatten upon the past;
For the stateliest building man can raise
Is the ivy's food at last.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the ivy green.

Charles Dickens